I had never visited a college campus until the day I traveled to Bowling Green State University for registration in the summer of 1964. Being the first in my family to graduate from high school, let alone go to college, I was fairly naïve about the whole process. A couple years earlier, I’d taken an interest inventory and railroad locomotive engineer scored as one of my top career options. There was nothing close to that in the college catalogue I had received.
So, I had to think a bit when the registration official said, “What will be your major?” Truth is than in my world, I had only interacted with two kinds of college graduates: doctors and teachers. No way was doctor on the table. That was obviously for very smart, rich kids. I liked school. Most of the teachers I had experienced through high school seemed pretty happy and fairly well-adjusted. How hard can that be?
“Okay, put me down for that teacher thing. Let me give that a shot.”
“What area of education do you want to concentrate on?” the counselor replied.
“Hmm. Hadn’t thought about that a whole lot. I do love reading about history and famous people. Yeah, put me down for history. I’ll be a history teacher!”
After I returned home from the visit and announced to the family that I was going to be a history teacher, my father suggested, “If you are going to spend all that time and money going to college, “Why not be something like a doctor or lawyer, so you can make some real money?”
Well, he just didn’t get. He didn’t understand the smart, rich kid qualification!